While we won’t find out until later this winter where the Brewers fall in Baseball America’s organizational rankings, Sterns and Company have positioned the Brewers to at least be in the conversation for the top ranking.
In retrospective, how have past top ranked systems panned out? Individually prospects an flame out, get injured, or never quite develop as anticipated, which is why I thought taking a broader look at the systems themselves to find out what one could expect from a top ranked system.
- Reviewed a recent 10 year period
- Assuming it takes at least 3 years for the full effect of the system in the majors, I used 2004-2013 for this comparison.
There are a few discrepancies in Baseball America’s organizational vs. individual team lists as typically the individual team lists come out before the organizational list and if there are off season trades, this can change between publications.
|Top 10 Prospects||2||2||3||1||1|
|Top 100 Prospects||6||6||9||7||7|
|Ave Position of Top 100||41||44||37||40||49|
|WAR in 2016||9.0||7.4||10.8||10.8||6.6|
|Still in Baseball||9||10||9||9||6|
|Top 10 Prospects||2||2||2||1||2|
|Top 100 Prospects||7||7||7||6||6|
|Ave Position of Top 100||34||39||23||47||39|
|WAR in 2016||12.8||8.9||3.8||5.5||0.4|
|Still in Baseball||7||5||5||5||2|
There are a lot of Rays and Rangers on this list.
Historically about one out of the 10 prospects from the top organization failed to make it to the majors.
The period from 2004-2013 looked to be a good choice as the 2004 Brewers only had three active players remaining from their list (Fielder, Weeks and Hardy) and the more recent teams (2014 Pirates, 2015 Cubs, 2016 Dodgers) each cumulatively have less than 25 WAR
Using MLB prospect rankings, currently the Brewers have 3 pitchers and 7 hitters in their top 10. They have 8 top 100 prospects, with an average ranking of 50 (which would be the lowest from any of these years).
Its because of this why I’ll actually be surprised if the Brewers are the top ranked system this winter. Their strength right now is in the depth of the system. Since 2004 (and including 2014-2016), all of these teams had at least one overall top 10 prospect and seven of the teams had 2.
Looking at these 10 years, the 2004 Brewers is the closest to being the average top team (in terms of their player rankings at the time, WAR, All Stars, etc.). Most of us have are more familiar with that group of prospects than any of these others and I think we’d all be pretty happy if the current group came close to that one.
Out of curiosity, here are the top layers each season.
|Highest Ranked||Highest WAR|
|2004||Brewers||Rickie Weeks||JJ Hardy (3)|
|2005||Angels||Casey Kotchman||Howie Kendrick (8)|
|2006||Diamondbacks||Justin Upton||Justin Upton|
|2007||Rays||Delmon Young||Evan Longoria (2)|
|2008||Rays||Evan Longoria||Evan Longoria|
|2009||Rangers||Neftali Feliz||Elvis Andrus (4)|
|2010||Rays||Desmond Jennings||Desmond Jennings|
|2011||Royals||Eric Hosmer||Danny Duffy (7)|
|2012||Rangers||Yu Darvish||Yu Darvish|
|2013||Cardinals||Oscar Taveras||Carlos Martinez (3)|
|2014||Pirates||Gregory Polanco||Gregory Polanco|
|2015||Cubs||Kris Bryant||Kris Bryant|
|2016||Dodgers||Cory Saeger||Cory Saeger|
When I get some time I’ll do part two of this series reviewing how the teams fared before and after having a top ranked farm system.